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Yerba Santa

Eriodictyon angustifolium

Pen & Ink illustration of Yerba Santa, Eriodictyon angustifolium, copyright by Michael Plagens

Drawn from specimen found at Roosevelt, Gila Co., Arizona, USA. 6 July 1993.

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FLOWERS: Small, pale white or bluish flowers in a curling spike. Flowers have four or five lobes.

Yerba Santa, Eriodictyon angustifolium, copyright by Michael Plagens

SHRUB: Woody shrub, 1 to 2 meters tall. Older twigs and stems have stringy, shredding bark.

RANGE: This is really a plant of chaparral in Arizona, but in the upper elevations in transition to chaparral along the northern boundary of the Sonoran Desert, Yerba Santa occurs sporadically. 

LEAVES: Almost linear leaves are shiny green and resinous on top surface, and whitish underneath. The leaves emit strong herbal aroma when crushed.

FRUIT: Dry capsules with several seeds.


In Spanish, Yerba Santa means "sacred herb". This and related species have been used in various herbal remedies.

Hydrophyllaceae -- Waterleaf Family

More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2010